In one of my weekly studies we are studying the Thessalonian epistles as a unit. One of the observations, or better, things that challenged me in that study in the last weeks was the emphasis that Paul placed on the second coming of Christ. In 1 Thessalonians 5:1 – 2 (here @ Bible Gateway), Paul states that he knows that the Thessalonian believers already know the truth about the second coming of Christ. There are several important implications of that statement, but for my purpose here I want to focus on one in particular.
Paul, as one of the first things that he shared with new believers was the reality of Christ’s return. We know that because of the record in Acts 17:1 – 10 (here @ Bible Gateway). Paul was only in Thessalonica for about three weeks, possibly only two. Yet in 1 Thessalonians 5:1 – 2 (here @ Bible Gateway) he states that he knows they already are aware of Christ’s return. Thus, he must have covered that topic with them.
This is important, probably for several reasons, primarily because of what Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:11 – 16 (here @ Bible Gateway), we are to be diligent to live in light of Christ’s return. Here, in the western church, we do not normally live with that in mind. The ease of our lifestyle, the benefits our economy, insulates us from the difficulties that many, if not most, of our brothers and sisters face on a daily basis. As a result we do not hunger for His return. We are comfortable in this world as it is. Peter, though, tells us we are to be diligent to be found by Him prepared for His return.
If you knew He was coming today, how would that change what you do, your attitudes, your choices? In Matthew 25:1 – 13 (here @ Bible Gateway), Jesus uses the parable of the 10 virgins to emphasize that we are to be always alert, always ready for His return. In this culture, we are concerned about many things. We are terminally busy. We are caught up in living a comfortable life and all that entails. We are concerned about politics, national, local, school, and church politics. We are working to get the best life we can for our families.
I have heard, read, and know people who have focused on really getting down to the business of the Lord in the second half of their life. Two thoughts, first, that seems to be counter to Christ’s explicit instructions in Matthew 6:25 – 34 (here @ Bible Gateway), we are to seek His Kingdom – first. Second, we do not know when He is returning, the Scripture tells us that we will never know. Should He return before we have decided we are ready to seek His Kingdom first, how then will He respond?
There may be one more of these before I summarize… We’ll see…